Best Wii U Video Games of All Time (2022)

The best Wii U games are a fantastic showcase of Nintendo’s prior console’s capabilities. The perennially maligned Nintendo console was founded in 2012, following the success of the Wii, and has now been all but forgotten as Nintendo gradually but eventually replaces it with the far more exciting and flexible Switch. Almost every metric said it was a failure, save the one that matters: the games.


Super Smash Bros. (Nintendo Wii U) : Video Games

I never thought the fierce four-player multiplayer clashes in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U needed more fighters, but eight-player brawls have become one of my favorite modes in the game. Eight-player clashes are limited to local play, which is a shame, but if you get a lot of friends together, you can fill these massive, vibrantly colored arenas with pure chaos.

In combat, each character demonstrates a fantastic personality, relying on a rich history spanning dozens of popular games. A match builds up to a finale that is fun every time as I strike, dodge, block, and weave past seven other fighters.

That sums up Super Smash Bros. on Wii U: it makes bigger than ever before, yet it’s still laser-focused on the beautifully calibrated action that has made this a legendary fighting game series.

Smash Bros. for Wii U combines more than 30 years of gaming history into a friendly fight. Each of the 49 fighters on the roster employs identical button presses to execute attacks and special moves, but they each have their own individual style that is fun to learn. It makes them easy to play but difficult to master.

Bowser, for example, uses a tricky move set of clay-pigeon projectiles, explosive barrels, and attacks that make playful references to the 8-bit era to pummel foes into submission, while Smash Bros. newcomer Duck Hunt uses a tricky move set of clay-pigeon projectiles, explosive barrels, and attacks that make playful references to the 8-bit era to pummel foes into submission.

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With characters like Mega Man, Samus Aran, Captain Falcon, Fox McCloud, Villager from Animal Crossing, Pac-Man, Wii Fit Trainer, Link, Mario himself, and dozens more, there’s something for everyone who has ever enjoyed a video game.

Every aspect of Super Smash Bros. has fantastic attention to detail, and it’s all presented at a blistering 60 frames per second. The new Mario Kart Circuit arena captures the zero-gravity look and feel of a Mario Kart 8 track, while Mega Man walks with his distinctive awkward sideways-shuffle.

Bullet Bill and POW Block, for example, bring back memories of Super Mario Bros. while simultaneously delivering a powerful wallop to opponents. With so many small subtleties and references to notice, seeing everything Smash Wii U has to offer will take many hours.

The game’s excellent moment-to-moment fighting is its crowning glory, and the variety of ways to play it, from the Wii U GamePad to classic GameCube controllers with an adapter, makes it a gift that keeps on giving.

The action scales quite well: two-player duels are exciting, but eight players trying to smash each other out of the ring is chaos. Turning off items removes the element of chance, making it more of a skill test. But that’s only the start.

Classic, Special Orders, and All-Star use a similar strategy to set up imaginative encounters, using a variety of matches, fun scenarios, and particular regulations, but each mode allows you to pick the level of risk and reward.

Special Orders allow you to use your Smash coins to participate in special event matches, where victory unlocks a new trophy or a useful piece of custom equipment; the more difficult the match, the better the prizes. Losing, on the other hand, comes with a special cost, with most (if not all) of the stakes being lost, giving these bouts particularly tense.

The only parts of unlocking them that aren’t satisfying are the awkward menus and, more importantly, the stingy drop rates for custom special moves. Nearly every mode in Super Smash Bros. offers a set of unlockable rewards, and the only parts about unlocking them that aren’t satisfying are the awkward menus and, more importantly, the stingy drop rates for custom special moves.

Those swappable special moves change the speed of Mario’s Fireball or the attributes of other special attacks, so they’re both useful and fun to experiment with.

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Even though Super Smash Bros. didn’t provide me any instructions for how to unlock the prizes I desired, the idea of new personalized equipment, special moves, gorgeously depicted trophies, and more had me playing for hours.

Smash Tour, which is simply a poor virtual board game with too many uninteresting portions, is the only mode that is a snooze.

Four players take turns collecting stat buffs, items, and characters in the lead up to a final battle, which is a cool concept, but Smash Tour’s approach boils down the essence of this amazing brawler game into painfully short matches full of random elements that don’t have the same satisfying payoff or sense of accomplishment.

The online modes of Super Smash Wii U offer a variety of match styles, ranging from stressful 1-on-1 battles without items to 2v2 battles in Team Smash, with up to two fighters playing from the same console. Getting friends together, just like in Mario Kart 8, can be a chore involving text messaging due to Nintendo’s system’s lack of notifications.

However, once everything is set up, you may play private battles with friends and unleash characters with custom movesets, as well as watch other players’ strategies in the replay and spectator modes. Unfortunately, eight-player Smash isn’t available online, but four players are plenty for a decent brawl.

This is also the first game to work with Nintendo’s new amiibo toys-to-life. There are no figures included in the box, so this is an optional purchase, but if you do, it will give Super Smash Bros. for Wii U another, much minor avenue of variety.

As opponents, computer-controlled figure players will take the time, and each one will learn to protect itself as it progresses through the levels. The time investment to reach full level is little (maybe three hours), and having a brutally honed A.I. to unleash on your friends is entertaining to watch – but my amiibo did make some questionable judgments on occasion.

I’ve seen my fully leveled Mario figure destroy opponents, but I’ve also watched in horror as it completely ruined a game. I’m proud of my amiibo, but dealing with them can be like dealing with a child who only pays attention half of the time.

Nearly every facet of Smash Wii U appears to have been fine-tuned to appeal not only to long-time Nintendo fans but also to new players. Once they’re hooked, it entices them further with a variety of exciting modes and enticing incentives.

There’s just so much here, and I’ve never seen a game with so many fun and replayable ideas all in one place. Playing eight-player bouts and classic four-player brawls is just the time, and I don’t see any reason to stop playing Super Smash Bros. for Wii U anytime soon.

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2. Rayman Legends

Rayman Legends | Ubisoft (US)

The most impressive aspect of Rayman Legends is how frequently it presents new and unanticipated concepts throughout its almost 12-hour runtime. This wonderfully rendered co-op game puts dozens of unique ideas into the mix, demonstrating that the platforming genre still has room for fascinating inventiveness.

Rayman begins with easy running, jumping, and punching, but before you know it, you’re sneaking through dozens of dangerous traps, battling massive bosses, or playing through spectacular challenge levels that look like music videos from the 1990s. Every time I thought I’d found my favorite stage, another one appeared and took its place.

I was thinking the continual variety couldn’t possibly hold up, but each of Rayman Legends’ stages seemed to be more remarkable than the one before it. Rayman Origins’ colorful, animated look and feel is expanded upon in this sequel.

The wonderful transitions and smart bosses are expressive, vivid, and magnificent. Even though there isn’t much story here, the soundtrack has a very Loony Toons flavor to it, and the charming alien Teensies Rayman has to save give Legends plenty of character and personality.

I love the game’s subtle and imaginative graphic gimmicks, which hide dozens of clever secret regions in plain sight, and because most levels don’t have time limits, Legends offers us the freedom to explore and discover secrets for ourselves.

Rayman’s jump physics are a touch floaty compared to typical platformer characters, but I quickly got used to it and learned to love it. The variety of stealth puzzle parts, typical platformer obstacles, and shoot-’em-up-inspired gliding stages kept me on my toes and ready to see what happened next, and the levels he sprints through never feel frustrating thanks to some great pacing.

Whatever the task, they’re all masterfully conceived, and clearing each stage gives you a great sense of accomplishment.

Rayman Legends’ boss fights are among the game’s highlights. These encounters don’t alter the platforming boss fight, but they do showcase some of the best visual gimmicks, putting on a magnificent display.

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The Luchador, for example, is a towering mass of strength who swings a massive hand and flings his small opponents into the air regularly. The reactions from the surrounding crowd sold the atmosphere of a big prizefight as I figured out his tendencies and whacked him on the head.

Amazing games like this are always better when played with friends or family, and practically every level seems perfectly balanced for single-player and co-op play. When four players are jumping around at the same lot, things might get a little chaotic — it’s easy to lose track of which character is yours because everyone is on the same screen and many of the character skins appear identical.

To be fair, no platformer has truly solved this challenge yet, and Rayman does it better than any other. The one genuinely unfortunate thing is that there’s no online play, which means that Rayman Legends is stuck as a couch co-op game, aside from certain online leaderboards and daily challenges.

This is a little different on the Wii U: If you’re playing single-player, you’ll notice that the game switches to the assistant’s perspective at one point, and the gameplay transfers to the GamePad screen in an amusing transition.

Legends then use the Wii U’s technology to have you play a minigame in which you influence the surroundings by pulling switches to keep a computer-controlled Sir Globrax alive through labyrinth-like stages.

It’s a wonderful idea that’s a lot of fun in co-op because it necessitates careful teamwork and synchronization, but it’s the most aggravating aspect of Rayman Legends in single-player. Simply, they turn it into a tiresome escort mission from a great platformer.

Sir Globrax doesn’t always make excellent decisions, no matter how carefully I clear a route for him. He occasionally recognizes the level you’re attempting to set for him and even shows some desire for self-preservation, but he frequently walks right into a dangerous hurdle he could have avoided.

Again, they’re fantastic in co-op, but continuously losing due to AI stupidity beyond my control made me want to ignore single-player levels entirely.

Rayman Legends, however, is a fantastic example of why platformers will never cease being fun, no matter where I play it. It got to where it is now by incorporating lessons from classic Nintendo platformers like Yoshi’s Island and Wario Land 4.

Both games defy genre conventions by emphasizing exploration and discovery, and Rayman Legends follows suit, adding a continuous formula of gradually growing effort, colorful presentation, and insane variety that reminds me why I fell in love with the genre in the first place.

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Rayman Legends is a fantastic platformer that ranks among the greatest I’ve ever played. It gets a lot of mileage out of four basic moves thanks to excellent level design that plays with genre conventions. There’s a lot to do with great local co-op and dozens of unlockables, including Rayman Origins stages, special character skins, and mini-games.

The difficulty is so well-balanced that it may be played with children or adults and still be enjoyable. Rayman Legends is a fantastic platformer that ranks among the greatest I’ve ever played. It gets a lot of mileage out of four basic moves thanks to excellent level design that plays with genre conventions.

There’s a lot to do with great local co-op and dozens of unlockables, including Rayman Origins stages, special character skins, and mini-games. The difficulty is so well-balanced that it may be played with children or adults and still be enjoyable.

Rayman Legends is a fantastic platformer that ranks among the greatest I’ve ever played. It gets a lot of mileage out of four basic moves thanks to excellent level design that plays with genre conventions.

There’s a lot to do with great local co-op and dozens of unlockables, including Rayman Origins stages, special character skins, and mini-games. The difficulty is so well-balanced that it may be played with children or adults and still be enjoyable.

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3. Bayonetta 2

Bayonetta 2 for Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Game Details

I couldn’t help but notice how much better Bayonetta 2 looks and plays than its predecessor – or most other action games, for that matter – right from the action-packed moments of its brilliant prologue. Incredibly, Bayonetta 2 only improves from there.

She sashays, punches, postures, and kicks her way through an excellent 10-hour campaign packed with magnificent setpieces and deadly angels and demons with the grace, grace, and precision of a runway model. Bayonetta 2’s free-flowing combat remains its strongest asset, building on the virtues of the first Bayonetta.

Each punch, kick, and weapon swing leads to the next inspiring move with ease. Everything moves at 60 frames per second (it never slowed down), and its sequel feels supercharged thanks to fantastic animation, more opportunities to cancel out of strikes mid-move to evade, and interesting new weapons to obtain, such as the Rakshasa swords and the Chernabog scythe.

Each has its distinct feel and branching combos that can be mixed and merged to create a variety of play styles.

It’s exciting to pull off extended attack chains on a group of enemies, and it feels natural to execute combos. Witch Time, a slow-motion payback for evading at the last second that lets me dig in and crush angelic adversaries, provides a tangible reward for well-timed dodges.

I had lots of methods to shame the opposition once I factored in the new Umbran Climax – a high-power release of demon-summoning strikes that strike in a broad radius. My strikes could send them reeling no matter how big they got (and Bayonetta 2’s enemies get huge).

Bayonetta, on the other hand, isn’t overpowered. The enemies should not be underestimated even on normal difficulty. From small flying underlings to huge bosses, each enemy class has its attack patterns and unique tells that require and reward your attention.

Each boss has a distinct visual style and no two act in the same way. Valor, a flying boss with gold armor that makes him look like an angelic knight, fights in a very different way than Urbane, a ground-based foe with dual fiery gauntlets. I never feel like I’m battling the same adversary for too long or too often because of the constant enemy variety.

Successful last-second dodges trigger purple-hued slow-motion moments, while Angelic minions, with the sculpted appearance of fabled statues, have a shimmering gold effect that indicates they’re about to attack. This kind of clear visual language helps me make quick decisions, allowing me to confidently evade and attack enemies with a powerful offense.

The thorough scoring system encouraged me to set higher goals and try new combos and moves. Each chapter assigns you a score based on your playtime and combo prowess, with penalties for items or continues utilized.

With great prizes like score boosts and more gold to spend on new methods, accessories, amusing Nintendo-themed outfits, and items, it motivates you to do better.

The presentation and gameplay of Bayonetta 2 are intended toward diehard action enthusiasts, but it also tries to appeal to casual novices, with mixed results. To send an A.I.-driven Bayonetta into an attack, the GamePad-focused touch control option uses easy taps, holds, and swipes.

Although the alternate control system is a nice feature, it doesn’t hold up well when there are a lot of enemies on screen because the camera struggles to keep up. Regardless, you’ll have to learn the conventional control scheme after a few hours – and you should since it’s great.

There’s also an online-only, scenario-based co-op feature that makes Bayonetta 2’s terrific combat even better. Each one may be obtained by finishing sections of the main campaign, and they reduce fighting to smaller area battles with a group of enemies or even bosses. They’re entertaining, but the action only lasts two or three minutes.

Bayonetta’s wicked weaves, which are transformations incorporating tremendous demonic abilities, punctuate the end of action sequences, frequently skewering enemies in ridiculous death traps. With brutal enemy-munching routines, they create some of the most spectacular moments.

After a stressful struggle, mashing buttons as a Godzilla-sized demon is transformed into demonic lunchmeat for one of Bayonetta’s minions is a pleasant climax.

However, as much as I appreciate Bayonetta’s outrageous flair and am not turned off by her hypersexualized character design, the writing has a habit of drifting into frustratingly immature terrain with some poor efforts at humor.

I don’t mind a little juvenile comedy to go with a light-hearted action game, but the gags rely too much on foul-mouthed punchlines and stupid character clichés, and the sequences drag on far too long.

The writing, on the other hand, has some strong qualities, such as how it portrays The Masked Lumen Sage as an ideal foil for Bayonetta. The times with him were tense, as he firmly went toe-to-toe with my heroine’s superpowers, summoning his angelic allies to fight my own.

Bayonetta 2 is polished and focused in every way. The writing can be silly at times, but I still enjoy how it plays. That’s how fantastic the tempo and combat are. By the end, I was convinced: this sequel builds on the original’s strengths and delivers one of the most rewarding action games I’ve ever experienced.

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4. Axiom Verge

Axiom Verge for Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Game Details

Every moment of Axiom Verge’s 10-hour campaign is imprinted with the slogan “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” This 2D sidescroller incorporates many of the elements that make Metroid such a classic experience: powerful weapons, unique skills, and a great sense of advancement.

However, unlike Nintendo’s classic, which features a memorable location and evocative ambiance, Axiom Verge’s world failed to make an indelible impact on me. Axiom Verge delivers a lot of satisfaction with its sense of character evolution. You’re continually discovering new talents and abilities that allow you to go back in time and open up previously closed doors.

For those that pay close attention to their surroundings at all times, gaining the ability to phase through thin barriers five hours in and then using it to grab a power-up you observed near the beginning of the game delivers a pleasant sense of success.

Similarly, watching your hero go from a powerless wanderer on an unknown world to a demigod with an armament that would make Master Chief envious is a seamless and satisfying experience. Each of the dozen or so guns you receive has a distinct feel and function.

The glitch gun may be used to turn dangerous enemies into tranquil platforms, while ice beams can be used to slow down particularly chaotic enemies. A little spider drone, which you can deploy and fully control to scout out dicey situations while your main character hangs back in safety, is my favorite gadget in Axiom Verge’s armory.

Because Axiom Verge contains some amazing and hard boss fights, you’ll need to become comfortable with all of your weapons and tools. It’s a nice old-fashioned scramble to figure out their patterns and vulnerabilities, and then slay one of the enormous animals.

The controls are responsive, and the movement and combat feel great. Sure, there were a few that had me dying again and over until I understood their patterns, but because of Axiom Verge’s rapid load times and plenty of checkpoints, this was never an issue.

While the combat is fantastic, Axiom Verge’s exploration is disappointing. The map unfolds as a jumble of identical squares that don’t give you any clues as to what you’ve found.

While I enjoy a game that doesn’t hold my hand, I found myself getting lost much too often without a clear aim, especially after taking a break and returning to the game.

And, lacking a means of rapid travel, I wasted way too much time going back and forth across enormous swaths of the map, trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing.

The world design is one area where Axiom Verge fails to learn from the classics. Whereas Super Metroid has a lot of memorable scenery and zones that feel completely different but are geographically connected, Axiom Verge’s locations never truly resonated with me.

There was nothing about the world that felt lived in or had a distinct personality. Metroid’s world made sense, whether it was a crashed ship to investigate at the planet’s surface or a boiling lava-filled zone towards the planet’s center. Axiom’s world feels to be random.

That applies to the story as well. Whereas Metroid succeeds in delivering its tale solely through environmental storytelling and ambiance, Axiom Verge frequently grinds the action to a standstill and delivers you with a barrage of exposition.

The story isn’t horrible, but I never felt emotionally invested in the characters or their problems, thus taking me away from the action became a hassle. Even though I was occasionally disturbed by how much Axiom Verge reminded me of Metroid, I felt forced to complete this quest.

The weapons are satisfying to use, the character advancement is fulfilling, and defeating a large enemy is thrilling. While I wish it had a better balance of task explanations and exposition, I still had a great time exploring its bizarre, yet familiar world.

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